Businessman charged in referee's sexual bribes case

SINGAPORE Mon Apr 8, 2013 5:15pm IST

Referee Ali Sabbagh gestures during the AFC Cup soccer match between Kuwait's Al Qadsia and Yemen's Al Saqr in Kuwait City April 12, 2011. REUTERS/Tariq AlAli/Files

Referee Ali Sabbagh gestures during the AFC Cup soccer match between Kuwait's Al Qadsia and Yemen's Al Saqr in Kuwait City April 12, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Tariq AlAli/Files

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Businessman Eric Ding Si Yang has been charged with three counts of corruption relating to the sexual bribes case involving three Lebanese soccer match officials, Singapore's Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau said on Monday.

Singaporean Ding, described by local media as a bookmaker, will appear before the judge on Tuesday, the Attorney General's office told Reuters.

On Wednesday, FIFA-recognised referee Ali Sabbagh and assistants Ali Eid and Abdallah Taleb will appear in court where they can request bail or enter a plea against the charge of corruptly receiving gratification to fix a match.

Eid missed Friday's initial hearing as he suffered an "episode" in detention and was under observation in a Singapore hospital, but the Attorney General's office said he was brought before the judge on Monday.

The three officials were in Singapore to take charge of the AFC Cup match between local side Tampines Rovers and East Bengal of India but were hastily replaced hours before Wednesday's kick off by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

The judge has ordered the three to stay in separate cells with the prosecution arguing against bail for fear they were part of a syndicated operation.

The officials face a maximum fine of S$100,000 and a five-year prison term if found guilty, while Ding faces the same punishment on each charge.

(Writing by Patrick Johnston, editing by Mark Meadows)

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